LUCIA RONCHETTI (b.1963): Le Palais du Silence for Ensemble, Helicopters and Butterflies for an Operatic Percussionist, Forward and downward, turning neither to the left nor to the right for Solo Cello, Lacus timoris for Solo Timpani, Rumori da monumenti for Recorded Voice and Chamber Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 10U072
Description: Music with a strong theatrical element is central to Ronchetti's output. This doesn't just mean that she writes musical theatre works and operas, though she does; her 'action music pieces' are instrumental works abundant in external references of all kinds and lending a sense of dramaturgy to abstract musical structures. The results are highly diverse, compelling, compact 'scenes', each vividly enacting a story. Le palais du silence takes as its starting point the suggestion of deserted, ghostly landscapes in various Debussy Préludes, and engulfs extracts from them (yes, including the obvious one) in layers of surreal, resonating orchestration. Forward and downward refers to the legend of Theseus in the labyrinth. The cellist moves about on stage and plays in various extended ways to suggest dialogue, but he is also required to perform a very creditable Led Zeppelin transcription for the climactic battle with the minotaur, and the sole remaining fragment of a lost Monteverdi opera at the work's conclusion. Helicopters and Butterflies is less imaginary theatre and more literally theatrical, as the percussionist performs on a three-level stage to provide 'illustrations' to the narrative of Dostoyevsky's 'The Gambler', complete with tap-shoed footsteps on a variety of surfaces and a roulette wheel. The Lake of Fear is a Lunar mare of shadowy appearance; the timpanist plays and sings a succession of fear-related motifs - including Chopin's 'funeral march' with superimposed zombie gasping and groaning! - in a virtuoso solo performance. Rumori da monumenti is a vivid portrait of the city of Johannesburg, based around pre-recorded texts by Ivan Vladislavić on mundane and outlandish impressions of life in Johannesburg, with sections of music evoking the bustling city, jazz, gospel music, and so on. Ensemble Intercontemporain; Matthias Pinscher, Orchestra della Toscana; Luca Pfaff.